Volleyball should be professionalised - Deepthi Romesh | Sunday Observer

Volleyball should be professionalised - Deepthi Romesh

28 March, 2021

The Ceylon Electricity Board volleyball team clinched the national volleyball title at the finals played at the National Youth Centre in Maharagama recently. The team was led by Deepthi Romesh who won the Best Dash Player title. The Youth Observer met him to discuss his success in the sport.

Q: To begin the interview, how do you feel about receiving the Best Dash Player title at the volleyball nationals?

A: I am very happy about it.

Q: You led the Ceylon Electricity Board volleyball team to victory at the nationals. Wasn’t it a high point in your volleyball career?

A: Absolutely. It was remarkable for me. I overcame many barriers to reach this level and I am determined to continue with the sport.

Q: Why is it that winning this title has been an extraordinary event in your life?

A: In the early days my father was against me playing volleyball. He always admonished me asking me to stop being involved in the sport. But I never listened to him and secretly crept away from home to play volleyball. However, even though my mother did not like the game, she did not prevent me from playing volleyball. That is why winning the championship was an achievement for me.

Q: Deepthi, your first name sounds like a girl’s name. Don’t you think so?

A: Gender is not a problem. That is how I look at it. I never think about it.

Actually, there are lots of boys too with the name - Deepthi. It has been used for boys and girls over the past two to three decades. However, I love to be introduced by this name. I was not known as Deepthi in the early days. People knew me as Deepthi only after I entered the national volleyball arena. I am proud about my name.

Q: Could you describe about your childhood?

A: It was very lovely. My father and mother could not keep me inside the house. I went out of the house to run, jump or take part in some sports activity at every opportunity I got.

Q: What made you take up volleyball?

A: No particular reason. Actually, my neighbours, relatives and friends used to play this game.

I too was attracted to it and began playing it. I never thought it would change my life one day.

Q: How many members are there in your family? And where do you live?

A: There are four members in our family. My father, mother, my sister and myself. We live in a small village known as Thilinagama in Meerigama.

Q: Is your sister a volleyball player too?

A: Yes. Her name is Dilki. She played volleyball for the National Youth Centre team. Later she joined the Navy and is now a member of the Navy team.

Q: At what point did you decide that you must become a national player? Did you have any special reason for it?

A: In 2006, when I was schooling, the South Asian Games was telecast on TV and I saw the Sri Lanka volleyball team in action and I watched every match.

I then made up my mind that I will represent the country in volleyball one day.

Q: That was the time your father built barriers for your sport?

A: Yes. My father asked me to concentrate on studies and that without academic qualifications I would have a bleak future. But as I had a strong desire to take part in sports activities I used to leave the house secretly and watch elders play volleyball in the volleyball court close to our house.

Q: Did you have a role model?

A: Of course I did. At first I did not know anything about the rules of this game. One of my relatives, Vijitha Ruwan was the one who showed me the ropes.

Q: What are your memories regarding that time?

A: I was a good dash striker at that time. But the players in my village advised me against trying the dash in the beginning of my career, because if I break the law I could be asked to leave the court.

Q: Was that advice helpful?

A: Yes it was. I decided that one day I will become a proper dash player and little by little I built up my skills.

Q: Which school did you attend?

A: I studied at Bandaranayaka Vidyalaya, Meerigama. I played volleyball for the school in 2006 and 2007. Later I played for the national youth team.

Q: Any memorable events in your volleyball life?

A: I played in the junior nationals in 2010 and then I became captain of the Sri Lanka national team in 2019. That year we won the Bronze medal in the South Asian Games.

Q: Are you happy that you took to volleyball?

A: Of course I am. I love it. But I know that I will never win everything in life. After my GCE Ordinary Level examination I did not continue my studies. In the early days I wanted to become a good athlete and now it has changed to be a top volleyball player. Sujeewa Sir changed my mind and introduced me to volleyball. However, I am very happy about my present situation.

Q: Finally, what is the message you have for the youth of the country?

A: We must work hard to find success in whatever we do. The game of volleyball has not been professionalised as yet in Sri Lanka as such it does not give much financial benefits. If this situation is changed it will help to improve the game and Sri Lanka could perform well on the world stage. I hope it will happen soon.

Pix - Jagath Iroshana